Global Environment

National Action Plan for Agenda 21 -Chap. 17

[Agenda 21] National Action Plan for Agenda 21

Chapter 17 PROTECTION OF THE OCEANS, ALL KINDS OF SEAS, INCLUDING ENCLOSED AND SEMI-ENCLOSED SEAS, AND COASTAL AREAS AND THE PROTECTION, RATIONAL USE AND DEVELOPMENT OF THEIR LIVING RESOURCES

A) Integrated Management and Sustainable Development of Coastal Areas, Including Exclusive Economic Zones

Japan attaches importance to the implementation of the following activities:

(1)
In the Fourth Comprehensive National Development Plan, decided by the Government in 1987, it is laid down that, in order to realize attractive regional development through comprehensive, regionally extensive, multiple use of the seashore areas while conserving the environment and securing safety, comprehensive seashore-utilization plans should be prepared at the initiative of the local authorities concerned, and that the Government should positively assist the local authorities toward the establishment and realization of their plans.
(2)
Japan is conducting surveys regarding coastal areas as a part of basic research for the protection of the natural environment, and in addition to promoting research to gain an understanding of the present state of all coastal areas, Japan will promote the conservation of habitat areas of marine living resources, through the designation and appropriate management of national parks and quasi national parks, based on the Natural Parks Law, as well as the designation and appropriate management of nature conservation areas, based on the Nature Conservation Law.
(3)
As a part of the Project to Construct a National Land Information System, Japan has been making improvements since 1984 in the information regarding coastal areas, through cooperation among relevant governmental ministries and agencies.

17-B) Marine Environmental Protection

In accordance with the Basic Environment Law, as regards water pollution, Japan has established standards to protect human health and to maintain desirable conditions for conserving the living environment. In order to achieve these standards in accordance with the Water Pollution Control Law, in addition to promoting the enforcement of water quality regulations for water drained from factories and other places of business into such public water bodies as rivers, marshes, lakes, and coastal and marine areas, and measuring drainage in living environments, Japan has devised measures for stricter regulations for water quality, and the conservation of natural ocean beaches, particularly in the Seto Inland Sea, based on the Law for Special Measures for the Conservation of the Environment of the Seto Inland Sea. Also, in accordance with the Law Relating to the Prevention of Marine Pollution and Maritime Disaster, which was formulated with consideration given to MARPOL 73/78, Japan prevents marine pollution caused by ships and marine facilities, etc. Furthermore, based on the Sewerage Law, Japan has devised measures for decreasing environmental load, by means of improving sewage systems, for the purpose of contributing to water quality conservation of public water bodies.

In addition to gradually strengthening and enforcing drainage regulations, including that for toxic substances, in order to prevent marine pollution caused by land-based sources, Japan is promoting the improvement of sewerage and "Gappei-Shori Johkasou", as well as work for measures for the purification of ocean areas, including dredging along coastal areas, in compliance with the actual circumstances in regions.

Taking the above into account, Japan attaches importance to the implementation of the following activities:

(1)
Japan has recently established environmental quality standards and drainage standards regarding nitrogen and phosphorus, and will promote appropriate measures, including those for the effective regulation of drainage. Also, in order to control the dissolving of nutritional salts from sediment on the bottom of the ocean, Japan will promote measures including those for dredging and capping the ocean bottom with clean sand.
(2)
In addition to continuing the strict enforcement of drainage regulations and regulations on the structure and equipment of ships, according to MARPOL 73/78, Japan will positively participate in activities for the International Maritime Organization (IMO), including the control of gas emissions from ships.
(3)
As regards the prevention of marine pollution caused by the dumping of waste at sea, Japan has been strictly observing the regulations of the London Convention, and will continue to seek further enhancement of the convention as appropriate.
(4)
In addition to promoting the provision of information for the safe navigation of ships, necessary for reducing the risk of pollution, as well as improvements in assistance facilities, and the early replacement of old tankers by double-hull tankers, with the cooperation of international agencies, Japan will also promote research and development regarding the structures of new types of tankers, as well as technology for cleaning up gas emissions from ships. Furthermore, Japan will promote the improvement of facilities for the treatment of waste oil and other wastes at ports.
(5)
Japan will promote strengthening of the measures for the prevention of oil spill accidents and improving the equipment and materials for control of oil spills, as well as implementing speedy and appropriate measures for combating oil spill accidents. Japan will also make efforts for the early conclusion of the International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Cooperation, 1990 (OPRC convention).
(6)
As regards scientific surveys and research on marine environments, while cooperating in the marine environmental surveys of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, UNESCO (IOC) and the Pacific International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (PICES), in addition to continuing to clarify and evaluate the effects of pollution-related phenomena, including conducting marine environmental monitoring, Japan will also develop technology for measures to deal with red tide and technology for measures to deal with oil leakage.
(7)
Japan will promote research to assist the formulation of the North West Pacific Action Plan advocated by UNEP.
(8)
In order to contribute to the conservation of water quality in public water bodies, Japan will promote the improvement of sewers, or provide community plants or rural sewerage facilities, depending on the local situation, so that by around the year 2000, over 70% of the population will have wastewater hygienically processed by public facilities. Japan will also encourage the provision of "Gappei-Shori Johkasou" through the assistance of public authorities.

17-C) Sustainable Use and Conservation of Marine Living Resources of the High Seas

From the perspective of ensuring a steady supply of food to mankind, whose population will continue to increase into the 21st century, the development of marine living resources should be promoted, with the precondition that their sustainable use be maintained through appropriate conservation and management measures based on scientific information.

Taking the above into account, Japan attaches importance to the implementation of the following activities:

(1)
Through close international cooperation among concerned countries, Japan will strengthen scientific research activities and collection of accurate data in a timely manner. Further, Japan will take appropriate regulatory measures for resource management based on the information obtained, as well as strengthen the monitoring and enforcement activities to secure compliance with these regulations by fishermen.
(2)
Japan will monitor the actual situations of by-catch and conduct research on the resource conditions of these non-target species. In addition, Japan will make efforts to develop technologies as may be necessary to minimize by-catch.
(3)
Efforts for conserving and managing marine living resources should be made within regional fisheries organizations, which allow for the participation of all concerned countries as well as Japan. The cooperation for the management of straddling fish stocks and highly migratory species should be promoted within a framework established regionally or species-wise involving the participation of all concerned countries. Such cooperation should also be promoted within the framework of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which concerns the rights and obligations of coastal and fishing nations on the high seas. Accordingly, for cases in which there are existing regional organizations, Japan will make efforts to improve the activities of those organizations and for cases in which such organizations do not exist, Japan will make efforts to form mutual agreements for the creation of a new regional frameworks.

17-D) Sustainable Use and Conservation of Marine Living Resources Under National Jurisdiction

The waters surrounding Japan have a mixture of cold and warm currents, and provide one of the best fishing areas in the world, giving us good fishing conditions and rich marine living resources. It is the responsibility of Japan to efficiently utilize these marine living resources, while promoting their appropriate conservation and sustainable production.

Taking the above into account, Japan attaches importance to the implementation of the following activities:

(1)
As regards the marine living resources under the national jurisdiction of Japan, in addition to making further improvements in the surveys on the conditions of these resources, Japan will conduct the management of these resources and promote their sustainable use, taking care that these resources will not be adversely affected by excessive fishing. Also, by releasing juvenile fish into the ocean and installing artificial reefs, Japan will make efforts to increase the biomass of marine living resources in the area. Meanwhile, while giving due consideration to the environment, by promoting the infrastructure of the fishing villages and fishing ports, as well as improving and substantiating their facilities related to everyday life, Japan will maintain harmony with the environment and make efforts to realize a flourishing fishing industry.
(2)
As the sea adjacent to Japan is the habitat of various and diverse kinds of marine living resources, the conservation of these species is an important responsibility of Japan, and in a case in which a threat is foreseen to the existence of any of these species, Japan will make efforts to protect such species, adopting protective measures, including the development of breeding technology, as well as the designation of natural ocean park areas and nature conservation areas.
(3)
Because of the importance of the conservation of these habitat environments to the conservation and utilization of these living resources, in addition to conducting such surveys and research as those for technological development for understanding and protecting the conditions of seaweed beds, beaches, tidelands and coral reefs, and through basic surveys on the preservation of the natural environment, Japan will also adopt measures, when necessary, for the protection and raising of living resources, and for the creation of those facilities which will be helpful to the environment surrounding marine living resources.

17-E) Addressing Critical Uncertainties for the Management of the Marine Environment and Climate Change

In order to address uncertainties about the adverse effects of climate change on the marine environment, in addition to promoting systematic observations regarding the marine environment, including ocean currents, water temperature, salinity, sea ice, wind and waves, Japan is presently providing data obtained through these observations to the network made up of such systems as the International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange System (IODE) and the Integrated Global Ocean Services System (IGOSS), which have been internationally appraised by such organizations as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

(1)
In order to contribute to activities conducted by the IOC, Japan will collect marine-related data from researchers of government agencies and universities, and conduct observation, research and joint investigations on the world's major oceans, including the western Pacific Ocean. Japan will also provide technological assistance for oceanographic research and train people to conduct such research.
(2)
In reaction to the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), which is a long-term joint international program launched for the purpose of improving the global ocean observation network, in which the IOC plays the major role, Japan will promote research and technological development for the construction of a comprehensive observation system for clarifying and predicting changes in the marine environment.
(3)
In order to reduce the uncertainties regarding the role of oceans in climate change and the effects on oceans from the depletion of the ozone layer, and giving due consideration to the Action Program to Arrest Global Warming, the Comprehensive Promotion Programme for Global Environment Research, Monitoring and Technology Development, and the Basic Plans for Research and Development on Earth Science and Technology, Japan will continue to comprehensively promote scientific surveys and research, observation and monitoring, including those for clarifying the conditions of the circulation of carbon in oceans and the assessment of the effects of increases in ultraviolet radiation on marine ecosystems.

17-F) Strengthening International, Including Regional, Cooperation and Coordination

The conservation of marine living resources and the prevention of marine pollution have different natures and need different approaches. As regards marine living resources, effective management for the purpose of conservation and sustainable development of fish stocks in regional fishery organizations, has brought considerable results compared with other environmental areas. As one of the developed fishing states, Japan has contributed much to the conservation of marine living resources, and hopes that these organizations will further enhance their functions. Also, as regards problems requiring coordination among various organizations that might emerge in the future, an international organization such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation (FAO), which has scientific knowledge and expertise on fishery, should conduct this coordination. The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) would not be an appropriate body for handling such coordination. The deliberation at the United Nations Conference on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, dealing with the problem of the management of fishery resources, should be based on scientific information and be consistent with the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Meanwhile, the IMO and the UNEP have thus far played major roles in dealing with the problem of the prevention of marine pollution. These organizations are expected to play positive roles in dealing with such problems as those of large-scale marine pollution from new perspectives.

Taking the above into account, Japan attaches importance to the implementation of the following measures:

(1)
Japan will make efforts to achieve an early conclusion of the OPRC Convention.
(2)
Japan has decided to conduct activities within the government in order to quickly conclude the Antarctic Convention Protocol, which concerns environmental conservation.
(3)
Japan has participated in the North West Pacific Action Plan, which is being promoted by the UNEP, since the first meeting, and Japan will make efforts towards the formation of an appropriate framework for the prevention of marine pollution in the northwest Pacific Ocean. Also, as regards the waters around the countries of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Japan will promote the OSPAR Plan, which is a plan for cooperation among the ASEAN countries for improving capabilities to deal with major oil spills.
(4)
In order to enhance compensation for damage caused by oil leakage, Japan will promote studies for achieving an early conclusion of the revised protocol (Protocol 92) for the two so-called "Leak Conventions," i.e., the CLC and the FC, which mainly cover increasing the limit of responsibility of ship owners, as well as promote improvements in domestic laws.
(5)
As an example of bilateral cooperation, Japan is conducting a feasibility study, and supplying onerous financial assistance for the countermeasures to the pollution of Guanabara Bay in Brazil.

17-G) Sustainable Development of Small Islands

While small islands have their own unique forms of biological diversity and individual cultures which are related to this biological diversity, they are vulnerable to changes in climate for geographic reasons and are prone to natural disaster, and so international cooperation for their sustainable development is expected. The Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States was scheduled to be held by the United Nations in April of 1994.

(1)
As an island country, Japan has hitherto been positively involved in cooperation for the sustainable development of small islands, and will continue to make efforts in these activities, giving sufficient consideration to the biological and cultural value of island countries.
(2)
Japan positively contributed to the above-mentioned Global Conference held in 1994.

Ministry of the Environment Government of Japan

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